Taro Leaf Blight Management using some Botanical Foliar Sprays for High Yield and Disease Inhibition in Umudike, South East Nigeria
The study was carried out in National root Crops Research Institute, Umudike in 2020 and 2021 to evaluate the effect of some botanical foliar sprays for the management of taro leaf blight incidence and severity, enhance disease inhibition in taro fields and, yield improvement in Umudike, South East Nigeria. Available literature showed that Taro Leaf Blight (TLB) has reduced taro production in Northern Nigeria and caused substantial damage to the crop, particularly in Adamawa State, in the past and in the 1990s, the disease became epidemic in Nigeria. The disease was first reported scientifically in Nigeria in 2009. Disease incidence and severity were used to evaluate the fungicide potentials of the botanicals, while yield was used to evaluate the TLB management potentials of the botanicals. The results showed the treatments; water extract of azadiracta indica (T1), water extract of garlic (T2) and mixture of the two extracts (T3) were effective in reducing the TLB incidence at the rate of 16.42%, 15.50% and 36.22% in cocoyam and were significantly different from control at P<0.05. The treatments were also effective in reduction of TLB severity, improved the plant leaf size which directly and indirectly improved the corm number and yield obtained from treated plots compared to the ones obtained from non treated plots (controls). The taro suckers and yields from the control experiments presented the least mean number of suckers and yields which differed significantly at P<0.05 with those of the three fungicide treatments. The average fresh weight of corms obtained from plants in the net plot under the various treatments was 17.40 kg/ha, 15.08 kg/ha and 13.27 kg/ha for water extract of azadiracta indica (T1), water extract of garlic (T2) and mixture of the two extracts (T3) respectively, while, only 5.98 kg/ha was obtained for control treatments. Therefore, these botanicals containing fungicides such as A. indica and garlic can be used by farmers and recommended that farmers should use the botanicals for the management of TLB in cocoyam production as protectant and curative botanical fungicides.
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